Q-and-A with Jaylon Smith Dan Leberfeld

Q)Do you expect to play in 2016 (after blowing his knee out last season)?

Jaylon Smith – LB – Notre Dame: That’s the goal. As soon as possible. I can’t tell when I’ll be back, but I’ll be back 100 percent.

Q)Who has been most instrumental in your rehab?

Smith: The most instrumental in my rehab has been AWB Sports in Fort Wayne, Indiana. They’ve really taken care of me.

Q)Did you suffer any nerve damage?

Smith: No, the nerve wasn’t stretched at all. It’s just the healing game. That’s all. It’s a process. I’ll be back 100 percent. We just don’t know when.

Q)What was the exact nature of the injury?

Smith: Torn ACL and LCL. Both repaired.

Q)How do you feel about having to go through this?

Smith: It’s the game of football and it happened. I have no choice but to live with it. I’m just moving forward. That’s all I’m focused on.

Q)Any hard feelings?

Smith: No, no hard feelings. Me and Taylor (Decker) talked. All is well.

Q)Are you still hoping to be taken in top 10 even with the uncertainty?

Smith: I’m hoping to go top 10. I view myself as the best player in the draft, you know? It’s just a matter of waiting and enjoying the process and controlling what I can control.

Q)Former NFL team doctor said it appeared you have nerve damage . . .

Smith: I feel great. There’s no soreness in the knee or there’s no pain. I’ve been off pain pills for almost a month. It’s the matter of the recovery process.
I don’t know when the nerve and everything will heal, but it’s just a matter of me taking it day-by-day and controlling what I can control.
The nerve isn’t stretched at all.

Q)Do you understand teams might be leery?

Smith: It’s a long-term decision for whoever drafts me. I’m a guy who will be around for a while playing at an elite level. An impact player. It’s great watching a guy like Todd Gurley do it last year and come back almost mid-season and perform. It’s very encouraging.

Q)Does this rehab process test your patience?

Absolutely. It tests your patience. First time I’ve been injured in my life. It’s making a man out of me. Like I said, it’s just a process and having great guys around you to encourage you and support you.

Q)Navarro Bowman came back from a similar injury. Is that encouraging?

Smith: Absolutely. It’s the NFL. There’s a lot of knee injuries and guys come back and perform well. There’s no doubt in my mind. It’s just a matter of when I’ll be healthy.

Q)What are your biggest strengths?

Smith: I think being versatile. I can pass rush. I can cover. I can stuff (the run). It’s just being able to be in the right spot at the
right time. That’s something I challenge myself on on each and every play.

Q)Did you have insurance?

Smith: Yes sir. There’s a loss of value policy that I applied for and was granted before the Notre Dame 2015 season.